Michigan Future Business Index provides economic overview for small businesses

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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - The goal of the Michigan Business Network is to help Michigan businesses grow and develop economically. Twice a year, MBN presents the Michigan Future Business Index, which gives small businesses around the state an overview of their last six months and an outlook of the next six months ahead.

"The reason we call it the Future Business Index is because we not only survey businesses, a high number of them by the way, this is a very accurate survey, not only do we survey them about their last six months, because we do this every six months, but we talk to them about their next six months," says Michigan Business Network President Chris Holman.

The index surveys between 400 and 1,000 businesses all across the state, divided up by six regions - Traverse City, Bay Region, Grand Rapids, Lansing, Detroit, and Marquette - as part of the 2017 Michigan Economic Forecast Series.

Friday, the Michigan Business Network presented findings from the survey answering a lot of business questions. "Are you going to hire? Do you see revenues sustaining? Do you see profits increasing? What are you going to do with your increasing healthcare costs? Those types of things... Are you going to buy durable goods? Are you going to advertise? Are you going to train your people?" describes Holman.
"What keeps you up at night? Are there any issues and things that really get to you and impeding your business from being successful? So it's a really good way to come up with challenges that we need to overcome as a state and region, but also opportunities that are out there that we can take advantage of," adds Amy Clickner, CEO of the Lake Superior Community Partnership.

Overall, the survey found that growth has slowed down over the past six months, but businesses are mostly satisfied with the state of the economy. Looking ahead, the index expects profit margins will stay about the same over the next six months, while finding qualified workers remains the top challenge for businesses moving forward.

"I think you get so hunkered down as a business owner in your own silo and making payroll and making your product or your service that you forget that we need to step back and take a look at where we've come and then really also take a look at where we're headed," says Clickner.

The Michigan Future Business Index will be presented next week in Lansing on Tuesday.

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